A half-month in, physician practices' conversion to ICD-10 hasn't been as disastrous as many feared, but it's been no picnic either.
The worst news: 86 percent of 200 surveyed physicians have stated that ICD-10 implementation negatively impacts patient care, according to a Sermo poll obtained by RevCycleIntelligence. It can take hours to get through to payers with questions about the new coding system, according to respondents, after which an unhelpful, "submit and we will see" represents a typical answer.
Similarly, payer sites have been difficult to access, according to physicians, and at least one local Medicare carrier had to shut down temporarily because of technical difficulties.
Within practices, the extra time needed to select more specific codes has also led to troublesome delays in care, physicians reported. "It wastes too much time, decreasing the number of patients I can see a day," commented a physician in allergy and immunology. "I am now having to schedule some return visits farther out than is ideal as a result. Waiting time for new patient appointments is longer."
While some practices, typically larger ones, have had a smoother experience, their conversion efforts are far from over, according to an article from Becker's ASC. Practices and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) therefore, should continue the following activities on an ongoing basis:
- Deploy accounts receivable staff to track ongoing problems with payers, educate coders and work with front-office staff to identify potential trouble spots. Similarly, work with clearinghouses to handle glitches and take advantage of ongoing testing opportunities.
- Continue to aggressively monitor software-system updates, as vendors will release ICD-10–related updates for some time.
- To offset the productivity slowdown caused by ICD-10, eliminate as many manual processes throughout the office as possible, using tools such as Six Sigma to enhance overall practice efficiency.
- Maintain regular ICD-10–related communication and education with all employees and physicians during meetings and huddles.